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Computer 'rats out' man who bought stolen property, police say

November 8, 2011 | 12:49 pm

A built-in camera and tracking system led Los Angeles police to a stolen MacBook computer.

Police arrested 29-year-old Abimael Garcia on suspicion of knowingly buying stolen goods. Officials said Garcia bought the computer for $150 from a man known only as "Pelon."

"We want everyone to know, if you buy a $1,500 computer from a guy on the street for $150, it's probably stolen," said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Central Detective Division. "And now, that computer may rat you out."

Police said the owner of the computer, a 21-year-old USC student, had installed tracking software on the computer that records the user's image and the computer's location when it is activated.

The student activated the software after the computer was stolen from a friend's car on Oct. 22 while parked near the Fashion District in downtown Los Angeles, they said.

"Our victim pretty much did our investigation for us," Vernon said. "All we had to do was go to the address and speak to the resident whose picture we already had."

According to a police statement, Garcia told police he met "Pelon" while working as a valet near 5th and Broadway, and told investigators that he realized the laptop was probably stolen.

He was arrested on Friday and has a court appearance set for Dec. 1.

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